What you’re looking at here ladies and gentlemen is a device that can make a person travel in time and space, provided they know how to operate the machinery of course. I was so excited when these books arrived yesterday that I just had to grab a photo to show them off while they were still fresh. They’re virgin books. No human has yet laid eyes, much less fingers on their pages, the spines are still stiff, as if standing at attention, and when you open them for the first time… the most wonderful fragrance of inks and presses and binding glue come to greet you, as if to say “I was made especially for you, enjoy your travels”. Ah yes. Buying new books is a big indulgence, but for me that pleasure of having a pristine copy to hold as I lose myself in prose is almost a necessary luxury. With used books there are always marks of usage (and sometimes much worse!) left behind the previous owners and trying to imagine how such smudges came to be greatly distract me from focusing on the story. So I tend to avoid used books unless they’ve been loaned to me by someone I know. After all, you wouldn’t let a complete stranger just walk off the streets and onto your couch unless that person came with some kind of references, would you? I rest my case.
The only problem with shopping for books is that I’ve developed a new addiction which is completely benign though does take up all my time, though will no doubt prove useful somehow down the line. Having just recently gone through the experience of shopping at Amazon (dot-c-a in my case), I only just this week discovered I my personalized store with the constant stream of recommendations based on the latest books I’ve either purchased or put on my wish list. Well most of you know all about that, but it’s all new to me, because up till now I was quite happy encouraging a Canadian company by shopping at Indigo.ca, which is in many ways similar to Amazon (including the pricing) but they lack this dynamic recommendations list feature and it simply blows my mind. So for the past few days I’ve been going through the list over and over again as it changes and while I cross reference with other lists to see which books have ranked best and according to what criteria (wouldn’t want to leave that sort of decision solely up to Amazon would we?). Truly, it’s become a kind of video game to me only this one suggests authors, topics and titles that I probably would not have known about otherwise. I can tell you my wish list is mushrooming out of control and I can’t see how I’ll make the time to read everything on it, but that’s hardly the point. The pleasure is in compiling the list.
For those who like to know this sort of thing, here is the list of titles found in the pile seen above (from top to bottom):
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon
- Why Beauty Is Truth: A History of Symmetry, Ian Stewart
- The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
- Naked, David Sedaris
- The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Michael Chabon
- Baltasar and Blimunda, José Saragamo
- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce
- One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Márquez
- Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
- Motherless Brooklyn, Jonathan Lethem
- The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
- The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Pic by Smiler